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The name of the resin, hence the name of the drink, is derived from the Greek "to chew, to gnash the teeth".
In Greece, mastika is a strong spirit similar to ouzo or tsikoudia. It is served cold or at room temperature but usually with ice. Both turn white (louche) when poured over ice or mixed with water, forming small crystals when frozen. They are served with various mezedes — appetizers such as octopus, salad, sardines, calamari, fried zucchini, and clams.
According to Bulgarian law, "Mastika is an alcoholic drink with minimum 47% vol. of alcohol, made of natural ethanol flavoured with anethole, extracted by rectification of essential oils from star anise (Illicium verum), anise (Pimpinella anissum), fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) or other plant, containing the same aroma component with concentration at least of 2.5 grams per litre, sugar at least 40 grams per litre, with or without addition of mastic and/or aroma destilate and has specific organoleptic characteristics."
In Macedonia, mastika is most commonly consumed as an aperitif, usually poured over ice and enjoyed with meze. Containing 43–45% alcohol, it has a hot taste not unlike that of brandy and is usually made from grapes, raisins, plums or figs. In Macedonia, mastika has traditionally been made in the Strumica area; the best known Macedonian brand, Strumička mastika ("Mastika of Strumica"), made by the company Grozd since 1953, contains 43% alcohol and is produced exclusively at export quality.
Turkish rakı can sometimes contain mastic.
- "The Magic Tree - Marvelous Masticha", Epikouria Magazine, Fall/Winter 2005
- Наредба за определенията на видовете спиртни напитки, видовете суровини и технологични операции, правилата за производство на спиртните напитки, разрешените добавки и условията за използването им, ДВ бр. 68 от 2006 г.
- "Mastícă" (in Romanian).